Our Healthy Approach to Food and Fitness for Children

Healthy Minds and Healthy Bodies

At Discoveries, we believe in fostering lifelong healthy habits for our little ones, ranging from nutrition to physical activity. Because so much of your child’s day is spent with us, we want to do our part in providing your children with natural and nutritious foods that will give them energy to learn, discover, and play.

Healthy Heart Programme

Discoveries Educare follows the guidelines provided by the New Zealand Healthy Heart Foundation on encouraging physical health through exercise and nutrition in an early childhood setting.

Nutrition is the key to help your child make the best possible start in life. With our monthly seasonal menu of healthy vegetarian meals, we ensure that your little one is getting the nutrients they need every time they visit us.

By anticipating the children’s needs and satisfying them with healthy choices, we can ensure healthy bodies and healthy minds, allowing your children to learn, grow, and play at their best. We take very seriously our vital role in helping your children establish lifelong healthy habits that will help them develop and succeed.

Physical Activity

Our nutritional policy works in conjunction with our initiative to promote physical exercise in our centres.

Play is the foundation of our learning process, and takes place both indoors and outdoors, from summer to winter. Our specialised teaching curriculum incorporates and makes room for music, dance, plays, and games, which encourage our children to keep active throughout the year.

Our staff routinely takes the children on short day trips and walks in order to promote healthy habits that will stay with the children long after they’ve left us.

Check out our menu!

Here’s a quick look at the delicious and healthy meals we serve the children at Discoveries. Our menus rotate from week to week according to seasonal vegetables, and we typically serve four meals: morning tea, lunch, afternoon tea, and a evening snack of either fruit or simple vegetables with dip. Here, we’ve included the recipes to some of our current Healthy Heart favourites in case you want to try these at home!

Morning Tea (9:45 AM)

Cinnamon oatmeal with banana

  • 2 cups (180g) rolled oats (not instant)
  • 1 Litre of water
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon, plus extra to dust
  • 125g brown sugar
  • 300ml milk
  • 2 bananas, sliced
  1. Place oats, cinnamon, 1L of water (4 cups) and a pinch of salt in a saucepan. Stir over low heat for 5 minutes, then leave to simmer for 5-6 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, place sugar in a saucepan with 2 tablespoons water and stir over low heat until sugar dissolves. Increase heat to medium and cook for 2-3 minutes until mixture has caramelised. Add 100ml milk and stir over low heat until smooth, then cool slightly.
  3. Divide the porridge among 6 bowls. Toss bananas in caramel and place on top of porridge and serve with remaining milk and a dusting of cinnamon.

Lunch (11:45 AM)

Creamy potato, chickpea and broccoli curry

  • 1 tablespoon oil
  • 1 medium white onion diced
  • 3 cloves garlic minced
  • 2 teaspoons curry powder
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • 2 carrots sliced into thin coins
  • 5 cups broccoli florets
  • 1 can chickpeas drained and rinsed
  • 1 (15 ounce) can light coconut milk
  • 1¼ cups vegetable broth
  • Rice, to serve
  1. Heat a medium-sized saucepan over medium-low heat. Add the oil and onion. Saute until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic, turmeric, curry powder, garlic powder, and  a sprinkle of salt and cook for another minute.
  2. Add the carrots, broccoli, chickpea, coconut milk, and vegetable broth.
  3. Bring to a simmer and then cover and let cook for 10 minutes, or until the broccoli is tender.
  4. Serve over rice.

Afternoon Tea (2:45 PM)

Easy custard

  • 3 tbsp custard powder
  • 2 tsp sugar

  • 2 cups milk

  • 2 tbsp water

  1. Mix all ingredients until there are no lumps
  2. Heat gradually over a low to medium heat stirring constantly
  3. Continue to cook while stirring until the custard has boiled and thickened
  4. Remove from heat and serve.

Morning Tea (9:45 AM)

Wholemeal pancakes with banana

  • 1 1/2 cup (200 grams) whole wheat flour
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 cups (295 to 350 ml) milk
  • 1 large egg
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted, plus more for the skillet or substitute coconut oil
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  1. Whisk flours, sugar, cinnamon, baking powder and the salt in a medium bowl, set aside.
  2. Warm the milk until lukewarm, not hot (you should be able to keep your finger submerged for 10 seconds).
  3. Whisk milk, butter, egg, and the vanilla together until blended.
  4. Make a well in the center of the flour mixture. Pour milk mixture into the well and stir with a fork until mixed and only small clumps of flour remain. Do not over mix batter. Note: The batter will be quite thick. If it is unreasonably thick, add 1 to 2 tablespoons more milk to thin it out a little.
  5. Heat a large skillet (or use griddle) over medium heat. The pan is ready if when you splatter a little water onto the pan surface, the water dances around the pan and eventually evaporates.
  6. Lightly brush skillet with melted butter. Spoon a 1/4-cup of the batter onto the skillet and gently spread into a 4-inch circle. (If the batter is thick, you may need to use the back of a spoon to spread the batter into a circle).
  7. When the edges look dry and bubbles start to appear and pop on the top surfaces of the pancakes, turn over, about 2 minutes. Once flipped, cook 1 to 2 minutes or until lightly browned and cooked in the middle. Serve warm with syrup, bananas or other toppings.

Lunch (11:45 AM)

Stirfried Noodles

  • 50g stir fried noodles
  • 1 tbsp oil
  • 1/2 onion, diced
  • 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp grated ginger
  • 1/2 carrot, sliced
  • 1/2 cup cauliflower cut into bite sized pieces
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  1. Cook noodles following the appropriate method on the back of the packet.
  2. Heat oil in a wok or large frying pan over low heat, add onion and cook until softened.
  3. Add garlic and ginger and cook for 2-3 minutes.
  4. Add tofu (if using) and stir fry over medium heat until tofu begins to brown.
  5. Add capsicum, broccoli, green beans, cooked noodles, soy sauce and lemon juice, and stir fry for 2-3 minutes.
  6. Spoon into a bowl, garnish with coriander (if using) and serve.

Afternoon Tea (2:45 PM)

Asparagus rolls with hummus

  • 6 asparagus spears
  • 6 slices wholemeal bread
  • 6 tbs hummus
  1. Trim the hard ends off the asparagus
  2. Blanch asparagus in boiling water for 2 minutes
  3. Remove and plunge into ice cold water until the asparagus has completely cooled down
  4. Drain and dry well
  5. Cut the crusts off the bread
  6. Spread 1 tablespoon of  hummus over each slice of bread
  7. Lay one asparagus spear on each slice of bread
  8. Roll bread over asparagus
  9. Secure with a toothpick if necessary

Morning Tea (9:45 AM)

French toast

  • 1 egg 
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla essence  
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon  
  • 1/4 cup milk 
  • 4 slices wheatmeal bread 
  1. Beat egg, vanilla and cinnamon in shallow dish. Stir in milk. 
  2. Dip bread in egg mixture, turning to coat both sides evenly. 
  3. Cook bread slices on lightly greased non-stick pan on medium heat until browned on both sides. 
  4. Serve with mixed berries.

Lunch (11:45 AM)

Vegetarian lasagne

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 bulb garlic
  • 1 1/2   lasagne sheets, fresh (18 x 25cm) 

  • 500 ml tomato paste, reduced-salt

  • 3 cup Cauliflower cut into bite sized pieces

  • 3 tbsp parmesan cheese

  • spring onions, diced

  • Black pepper, freshly ground, to taste
  1. Cook noodles following the appropriate method on the back of the packet.
  2. Heat oil in a wok or large frying pan over low heat, add onion and cook until softened.
  3. Add garlic and ginger and cook for 2-3 minutes.
  4. Add tofu (if using) and stir fry over medium heat until tofu begins to brown.
  5. Add capsicum, broccoli, green beans, cooked noodles, soy sauce and lemon juice, and stir fry for 2-3 minutes.
  6. Spoon into a bowl, garnish with coriander (if using) and serve.

Afternoon Tea (2:45 PM)

Berry and spinach smoothie

  • ¼ tsp finely chopped fresh ginger or ground cinnamon
  • 4 leaves spinach, stalks removed
  • ½ x 400g berries 
  • 1 cup milk
  1. Place all ingredients in a blender with ice.
  2. Process until completely combined.
  3. Serve chilled.

Morning Tea (9:45 AM)

Fruit yoghurt with flax seeds

  • 1 cup vanilla Greek Yogurt
  • 1 scoop vanilla whey protein isolate powder (about 3–4 Tbl)
  • 1 cup red and green seedless grapes
  • 1/2 cup fresh raspberries
  • 1/2 cup fresh blueberries
  • 1 banana, sliced
  • 1/2 cup crunchy granola
  • 1–2 Tbl flaxseed
  1. In a bowl mix together the Greek yogurt and protein powder.
  2. Spoon the yogurt mixture into a flat bottom bowl making a mound straight down the middle
  3. Make a line of raspberries on one side of the mound and a line of blueberries on the other side.
  4. Next to the raspberries add the grapes and on the the banana on the side of the blueberries.
  5. Add the granola next to the bananas and then sprinkle the flaxseed over top the entire bowl.

Lunch (11:45 AM)

Wholegrain macaroni and cheese with cauliflower

  • 2 cups dry macaroni
  • ¼ small cauliflower, sliced into florets
  • ½ head broccoli, sliced into florets
  • 2 Tbsp canola oil
  • 1 onion, peeled and finely chopped
  • 3 Tbsp flour
  • 3 cups milk
  • 2 cups grated tasty cheese
  • 1 tomato, sliced
  • ¼ cup crushed weetbix
  • 2 carrots, sliced into sticks
  • 2 stalks celery, sliced into sticks
  1. Fill a large saucepan with water, bring to the boil, add macaroni and simmer for 7 minutes.
  2. Add cauliflower and broccoli to the pasta and simmer for another 3-4 minutes. Drain.
  3. Meanwhile heat oil in a heavy-based saucepan. Stir fry the onion for 3-4 minutes.
  4. Add the flour, mix well and slowly add the milk. Heat gently, stirring until thickened. Add cheese.
  5. Place macaroni vegetable mixture in a baking dish, pour over the cheese sauce.
  6. Top with tomatoes and sprinkle the weetbix over.
  7. Grill under preheated grill for 5-10 minutes or until golden brown.
  8. Serve with celery and carrot sticks.

Afternoon Tea (2:45 PM)

Homemade kumara chips

  • 2 organic (~150 g each) sweet potatoes
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt (optional)
  1. Preheat oven to 250 degrees F (121 C) and position oven rack in the centre of the oven.
  2. Rinse and dry your sweet potatoes thoroughly and slice them as uniformly thin as possible. If you have a mandolin, use it. Otherwise, use a very sharp knife to get these uniformly thin. Know that chips that are too thick in parts won’t crisp up all the way. Still delicious, just not “chip” crispiness.
  3. Toss slices in a touch of olive oil to lightly coat, then sprinkle with salt. Lay out in a single layer on a baking sheet and bake for about 2 hours, flipping chips once at halfway point to ensure even cooking. I also rotated mine for more even cooking (optional but recommended).
  4. Remove once crisp and golden brown. Some may feel a little tender in the middle but take them out and let them rest for 10 minutes or so to crisp up before sampling. Serve immediately.